Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Church at Its Best and as It Should Be...

Our life was spontaneously interrupted today...but there's a back story!
My family and I have been walking through a very tough season -good but, stretching in the faith department. One in which we have learned to depend "souly" and "solely" on Father God for our complete provision - not knowing at times where, when or how His provision would come, yet being confident that it would.

 Well, today was no exception!

This divine intervention began a couple of days ago when I was prompted -by Holy Spirit - to ask for prayer concerning a few specific immediate needs we have. I asked and Father faithfully listened and went to work on our behalf (He is what His Word says He is and He does what it says He will do -every time!)
So, this morning my phone was a number I didn't recognize so, I called it back...when the lady on the other end answered she said "Kristi, we understand that you have a vehicle in need of fixing...that's what we do..." There was a little more to the conversation but, the bottom line gist of it was that she and her husband were on mission and fixing our car was part of it! In that instant, Spirit reminded me of a scripture passage in the book of Acts -chapter 2 verses 42-45( the part that talks about the early believers right after Pentecost and what they did) - it reads:

" All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teachings, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need."

I have marveled all afternoon at this modern day working out of this passage of scripture...being part of the body of Christ is the same today as it was for the early church. I smile with sheer giddiness at how Holy Spirit moves in the hearts and minds of his people to accomplish the work that He intends and to operate on behalf of those who earnestly seek him -

He delights in dazzling us. His provision and timing are always more than we could ever ask or imagine and He is quick to make it happen -He is still in the mountain moving business -we are testimony to it!

As a good friend of mine always says, "I saw God today, Did you?"

Be blessed as you come and as you go,,,your God is near and He's taking delight in your pursuit of Him!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Letting Loose to Love...

I attended a retreat this past weekend and in one of the sessions the speaker made the comment "letting loose to love"... it was a passing comment but, it resonated loud and clear with me and has stuck deep. I have been pondering it ever since she spoke it and it is not fading. Over and over it plays in my head -what does it mean: "letting loose to love"? It implies that something has to go in order to truly love -that "letting loose" feels multi-faceted...

"Letting Loose"? A dying...a relinquishing...a surrender...a sacrifice...a release?

Maybe it's a setting free -allowing Father to break the bonds and strongholds in our lives that render us incapable of really giving and receiving love in it's richest form...

Maybe it's a combination of the two?
Something we have to participate with Father in so, that through our dying, relinquishing, surrendering, sacrificing and releasing -He is free to break the bonds and strongholds that render us incapable of giving and receiving love in its truest "God" form -the kind that turns folks on end and causes them to seek you out because they have to know what it is and experience it for themselves...

The Scripture tells us in John 13:
“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”” (vs. 34-35 NLT)

Sufficed to say, we as believers are known by our is the thing that draws the lost and dying world to the Father and I believe it is at the top of the enemies "destroy" list.

I see this evidenced in my own life...
The enemy knows that if I'm operating in the fullness of God's power and plan, living out my call and loving deeply then I am dangerous! You see he knows he can't touch my soul but if, he can steal my joy and block the flow of pure genuine love in and through my life then he can suppress my effectiveness and rob me of the abundance Father intends for my life -not to mention the Kingdom task I have been purposed to accomplish!

Because of this understanding, the Bible tells us in 1 Peter 5:8 to:

" Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."

We must be on our guard, vigilant to the task of exposing his schemes and casting down his lies - all the while clothing ourselves in truth and surrounding ourselves with those who will encourage us in our pursuit of righteousness.

We must "let loose" of those things that hinder the Father's ability to pour His love into us and through us to others...

So the question is - What in you is keeping you from "Letting loose to love"?

Surrender it -Relinquish it - Release it!

Father is at the ready to break those bonds and set you free... "Loose to Love"

Deuteronomy 30:6 says:
“The LORD your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

True Confessions...Keeping it real!

Here I sit -pondering the often this happens to me... How about you?

I move from hi to low and back again (can anyone else out there relate?!?!) The inevitable rise and fall of the never ending roller coaster of the adventure called life...and the battle called faith -one day hi -next day low (I know I'm not alone here!)

Today is one of those days where the uncertainty of it all smacks you in the face, knocks you slightly off kilter and causes you to sit back on your heals...swooning from the blow but, not down for the count! (I have walked around agitated and annoyed with it for most of the day)

It's on this kind of day- when I finally shake the funky feeling- that I am reminded of David's words in Psalms:

"For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust." (103:14)

Unlike us, Jesus is compassionate and tender with us when we falter. Our weakness is where His perfection shines (if we let him)...He says take my yoke -it's light- and let me carry that burden!

This comforts me.
I can rest -even in these moments- because I know my Father knows me inside and out -he is familiar with my very frame and understands me in every way...

When all is said and done -pity pout party had - there is yet another kiss and a nudge to "go reread yesterday's post and the whole of Psalm 103!"

...still smiling and trusting my Father to perfect everything that concerns me today and to forgive my inconsistency and help my unbelief!

He is Good and everything he does is good! We can not contain all of his goodness -He is FOR me and the same can be said for you!

Just wanting to keep it real because it is here He gets the absolute glory! It's also the spot my soul finds rest. The "unveiled place" is where his presence comes and dwells and breathes life into my weary dry bones! And boy, have they needed some life today!

Peace- be still - He's loving on you! Can you feel it?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I'm Smiling...Are you?

Have you ever had one of those "That's it!" moments...

Over the last 18 or 19 months, every time someone would ask how we were doing, I would unroll all that was going on with us. With uncanny repetition, each conversation would inevitably end with me laughing and smiling- followed by a comment to the effect of " We have no clue but, Father does and we're trusting in that..." Every single time I would walk away feeling a little crazy -laughing and smiling at such overwhelming circumstances and uncertainty... well today -on Pinterest of all places -Father affirmed in me the reason why I respond the way I do to all those inquiries...Totally Him and just like him...

There pinned boldly on the virtual cork board of cyberspace in bold flowery font were these words and it was signed Jesus... (anyone who knows just a small amount about the Bible knows that Jesus didn't speak those words...but today, He spoke them directly to of those "Kisses" just to shower his affection...and I felt it!)

It said:
She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future. ~Proverbs 31:25

See it has nothing to do with me or the swirling circumstances that surround me right now (if it did I would be crumbling and melting under the stress and pressure) ... It has everything to do with him -JESUS- and my heart being stayed and fixed on Him -resting in what he desires to accomplish in and through me as he moves me and my family through this season that HE has set in motion in our lives...Jesus is the one who clothes us in strength and dignity...he is the peace that passes understanding creating the joy that wells up into laughter...He is the perfect love that drives out any fear -even in the most fearful of places...He HOLDS and IS our future...It's not us -it's Him...I'm smiling! Are you?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Philippians 1...

I was reading this passage a night ago and a few portions of it just jumped off the page at me in a way that they never had before so, I thought I would put it out there and see what come of it... (orange is the portion that jumped out at me -blue is my thought that followed)

Philippians 1:3-30

" I thank my God [BE THANKFUL] every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy [We should pray with joy and expectancy of Father hearing and answering] because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus [Our confidence lies in Father's finished work being accomplished in and through us because of Jesus until he returns or calls us home...reminds me of a song ;) ]

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God's grace with me [We are all in this together- sharing in his grace and struggle- carrying each other's burdens]. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God. [The goal- more of Him and righteous judgement- seeing things through His lens]

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. [Nothing is wasted! Our obedience to follow the Father's call -even into hard places- bring his light and accomplish his purposes as we go...when we walk in this way, not only do we dispel the darkness -causing the veil to be lifted for some, we encourage our fellow sojourners to take up their cross' and do the same -LOVE IT!]

It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition , not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God's provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body [it is through the power of the prayers of the saints and the inner working of the Holy Spirit that we are emboldened to give an answer for the hope that lies within us no matter the cost...through which our ultimate deliverance comes!], whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ [Guard your hearts, minds, and actions -taking every thought captive to Christ so as to not hinder the work the Father is seeking to accomplish in you and in those within your sphere of influence]. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you [Stand firm- not backing down even in the face of opposition -greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world...]. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved [SALVATION IS HERE in the sticky and sticking place - as we stand firm, God's glory descends and we and others are saved through him...all hemmed in by obedience and a willingness to set aside our wills and agendas for his own] and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and no still have.

Out of the pain and the hard places we are called to walk comes passion, perseverance and his overwhelming presence in our lives...bolstering our faith and raising the bar of hope for all that he is and all that we are because of Him!